Both mind and body were made to work. The function of the brain is to think to a purpose, just as the function of the heart is to pump blood. The habit of doing nothing is very easily formed. The "out-of-work" soon become "the work-shy." Having too little to do is worse for the body and mind than having too little to eat. Social reformers emphasize the bad effect on society of vagrancy. Evils of indiscriminate relief to the poor are vividly described year after year. The philanthropist is condemned, who, by his gifts, encourages an employee's family to spend what they do not earn, and to shun work. Yet the idleness of the tramp, street loafer, and professional mendicant is a negligible evil compared with the hindrance to human progress caused by the idleness of the well-to-do, the rich, the educated, the refined, the "best" people. It is as much a wrong to bring up children in an atmosphere of do-nothingism, as to refuse to have their teeth attended to or to have glasses fitted to weak eyes.

From the point of view of community welfare it is far more serious for the rich child to be brought up in idleness or without a purpose than for the poor child to become a public charge. Not only has society a right to expect more from rich children in return for the greater benefits they enjoy, but so long as rich children control the expenditure of money, they control also the health and happiness of other human beings. Unless taught the value and joy of wholesome work they cannot themselves think straight, nor are they likely to want to understand how they can use their wealth for the benefit of mankind. To quote President Butler again:

The rich boy who receives a good education and is trained to be a self-respecting member of the body politic might in time share on equal terms the chance of the poor boy to become a man of genuine influence and importance on his own account, just as now by the neglect, or worse, of his parents the very rich boy is apt to be relegated to the limbo of curiosities, and too often of decadence.

Nervous invalids make life miserable for themselves and for others, when often their sole malady is lack of the right kind of work to do.

Suiting work to interest and interest to work is an economy that should not be overlooked. The energy spent in forcing oneself to do a distasteful task can be turned to productive channels when work is made pleasurable. The fact is frequently deplored that whereas formerly a man became a full-fledged craftsman, able to perform any branch of his trade, he is now confined to doing special acts because neither his interest nor his mind is called into play. Work seems to react unfavorably on his health. He has not the pride of the artisan in the finished product, for he seldom sees it. He does a task. His employer is a taskmaster. He decides that work is not good for him as easily as when a school-boy he grasped the meaning of escape from his lessons. By failing to fit studies to a student's interest, or by failing to insure a student's interest in his studies, schools and colleges miseducate young men and young women to look upon all work as tasks, as discipline, necessary but irksome, and to be avoided if possible. Just as there is a way of turning all the energy of the play instinct into school work, so there is a way of interesting the factory and office worker in his job. However mechanical work may be, there is always the interest in becoming the most efficient worker in a room or a trade. Routine—accurate and detailed work—does not mean the stultification of the imagination. It takes more imagination to see the interesting things in statistical or record work than to write a novel. Therefore employers should make it a point to help their employees to realize the significance of the perfection of each detail and the importance of each man's part. The other day a father said to me, "I want my boys to be as ashamed to do work in which they are not interested as to accept graft." When interest in work and efficiency in work are regarded as of more importance than the immediate returns for work, when it is as natural for boys and girls to demand enjoyment and complete living in work as it is to thrill at the sight of the Stars and Stripes, do-nothing ailments will be less frequent and less costly.

Work—that one enjoys—is an invaluable unpatented medicine. It can make the sick well and keep the well from getting sick. It is the chief reliance of mental hygiene. "I should have the grippe if I had time," said a business woman to me the other day; but she did not have time, hence she did not have the grippe.

If you're sick with something chronic, And you think you need a tonic, Do something. There is life and health in doing, There is pleasure in pursuing; Doing, then, is health accruing— Do something.
And if you're seeking pleasure, Or enjoyment in full measure, Do something. Idleness, there's nothing in it; 'Twill not pay you for a minute— Do something.